#YogaEveryDamnDay: why challenges are fun for me

Even though I might take a break from blogging every once in a while to catch up on real life, I never stop Instagramming! Why? Because I participate in daily yoga challenges on Instagram. These challenges are run by yogis (often well-known yogis, most frequently instructors of some kind) who partner with each other and with yoga-related brands to present a pose each day during the challenge. The challenges are identified by hashtags, which is how things are found on Instagram and Twitter. In April, I did #BackbendMadness2014 and #SpreadAhimsa. Each day, I did the yoga pose presented by the hosts and posted a picture of myself in the pose (or attempting it!) with the hashtag of the challenge and tagging the hosts. At the end of these challenges, the hosting brands give away the fun prizes to random participants drawn by the hosting yogis. Last month, I actually won the Dolly Moo gift package from the #SpreadAhimsa challenge hosted by @yogagoddess_jo, @dalima26 and @sequellife_bp. Their challenge was also my favorite because it was small enough that we could all talk to each other and encourage each other! I really feel like I got to know the hosts.

I was so excited about winning these products that I had to share them with you. Please note, nobody paid me to share these! I just won them as part of a challenge giveaway and love them so much!

Dolly Moo Handmade Essential Oil body products

In this bundle:

Sage smudge stick – never used these before but looks neat!

Tangerine Oat Body Scrub – probably my favorite! I am embarrassed to say that I have been addicted to Arbonne Ginger Citrus body scrub for a long time even though it contains tons of toxins that are terrible for me. This is a much healthier, handmade product with NO TOXINS! Love it so much!

Lotus Aura oil – I haven’t used “perfume” in years, just versions of essential oil blends in natural body products. This blend is so yummy that it is a great perfume replacement! I believe it is also supposed to help enhance meditation or something, but I don’t know anything about that.

Lavender Essential Water – this spray has so many uses! I sprayed it on my face right away for cooling and calming when I returned for our trip. I have also sprayed it in our bedroom and in the bathroom to get rid of odors.

Handmade Lip Balm Trio – with combos like Peppermint Clove and Lemon Lavender, these balms are so smooth and luxurious smelling that I actually threw away some of the waxy, bland lip balms that I had lying around.

 

Aside from even the amazing gifts from Dolly Moo and the camaraderie of the #IGyogafamily, I very much enjoy the way daily challenges force me to be in a yoga mindset all day, and to make my practice daily instead of random. I also learn some great new poses that I have never tried! This month’s challenge has been #YogaToTheCore with @kinoyoga, @beachyogagirl, and @stoked_yogi, which is dear to my heart because it intertwined yoga with Pilates.

Next month (um, 1 day away!), I am going to be participating in the #MayIHandstand challenge where I will tackle my slow but steady progression to handstanding by the time I am 40 years old (follow my hashtag #handstandby40 on Instagram). I have taken some serious ground since January, but I still have a long way to go. I’d love it if you join me!

Gaiam Yoga Mat Finder -- Find your perfect mat(ch) with the Gaiam Yoga Mat Finder!

Instagram is now more fun than Facebook for blogging

Follow me on Instagram! | Living Consciously Blog

If you’re not a blogger or small business owner, you might not be aware that Facebook has not been the friendliest place for Facebook Pages in the last 6 months. When you log in to Facebook as a user, you see many items in your Facebook “News Feed”. Some are from your Friends, some are paid advertisements, and some are from Pages you have “Like”ed. Let’s say that you’re a standard Facebook user with about 200 friends and have “Like”ed around 50-100 Pages. Maybe you log on to Facebook to check your News Feed every 3-4 hours. Think how many times your 200 friends and 100 Pages have posted Status Updates during that time. There is no way you are going to have time to see all the updates, so Facebook tries to “help” you by actually only showing a very small percentage of those updates to you in your News Feed. Facebook uses an algorithm to determine what it “thinks” you would be interested in, and hides the rest of the updates from you. As a small business or a Facebook Page, my job is to make my status updates are interesting to most of the people who have “Like”ed my Page so that my updates show up in your News Feed. Bloggers and businesses work super hard to do this. We schedule posts, we think creatively, and if you’re like me, post pictures of food and children to get you to “Like” and “Share”. The more you “Like” and “Share” an update, the more often it’s source appears in your News Feed. Or, that’s how it used to be. It used to be that all our efforts to make interesting content paid off. As a Page owner, I can see below my Status Update how many of my Fans (those who have “Like”ed my Page) saw the update. I used to get somewhere around 25%-30% of my Fans seeing my updates. That was a pretty good number although some Pages were able to reach more.

But in the last 6 months, Facebook changed the algorithm. The consensus of bloggers and small business owners is that we virtually cannot reach our Fans at all anymore. Regardless of how often you “Like” or “Share” our updates, you may never see my Page in your News Feed again. Nowadays, the same type of Status Update that reached 25%-30% of my Fans consistently reaches 10% or less. Sometimes I get the dreaded “10 people saw this post”. WhAT?! And it’s not just me. It’s everyone, including bloggers with thousands of Fans and large businesses. Facebook does have a pay-for-placement structure that allows a Page owner to pay to show up in News Feeds, but not specifically the News Feeds of those who “Like” your page — everyone’s News Feed. So you can pay for 1,000 people to see your post, but you still might not actually reach your Fans who “Like”ed your Page. You just appear in 1,000 random peoples’ News Feed. The business owners and bloggers I’ve talked to who have paid for placement say that the paid placement still doesn’t boost their numbers much above the 25%-30% they were getting before the algorithm changed. The only difference is that they’re having to pay.

If you follow me on Facebook, you might have noticed I’ve been a little slack about posting. But most likely, you haven’t noticed because you haven’t been seeing my Status Updates anyway. I wanted to let you, my awesome readers, know that I actually post a lot of personal, yoga, food, and daily things on my Instagram. I’ve been spending a lot of time over there lately because I’ve found a really neat community of yogis and fitness friends. I’m not an Instagram star or anything, but I’ve found it to be fun!

Check out some of my favorite users and posts recently:

Aren’t these so fun and inspirational?

I’ve been so much happier taking pictures and looking at positive, uplifting posts from others that challenge me than I was on Facebook battling through the clutter. I’d encourage you to give it a try, even if you don’t post pictures. Follow some inspirational people! Be encouraged!

What are your favorite Instagram accounts to follow? I’d love to hear, and I hope to see you on Instagram soon!